Masahiro Kawai leveled the game in the ninth inning on a bases-loaded single and the Yomiuri Giants took advantage of an infielder’s error to score the winning run as the defending Japan Series champions edged the Yakult Swallows 9-8 at Jingu Stadium on Wednesday.

Yomiuri scored the decisive run on a costly fielding error by Yakult third baseman Ken Suzuki, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and left it to Junichi Kawahara to close out the bottom half perfectly to seal the team’s fifth consecutive victory. Rodney Pedraza (1-0) got his first win for the streaking Giants.

BayStars 7, Carp 4

At Yokohama Stadium, Takahiro Saeki and Tyrone Woods each hit two-run homers off Masayuki Hasegawa (0-2) in the bottom of the first inning to highlight a five-run outburst as the BayStars went on to beat Hiroshima.

Takashi Saito (1-0) pitched seven strong innings, allowing four runs — three earned — and five hits while striking out five and hitting two by a pitch on his way to posting his first win in three years as a starter.

Tigers 5, Dragons 0

At Koshien Stadium, Taiyo Fujita (1-0) yielded four hits through the first six frames and three relievers combined on a one-hitter the rest of the way as Hanshin blanked Chunichi.

Norihiro Akahoshi, winner of the Central League stolen base title last year, went 3-for-3 with an RBI and came around to score Hanshin’s first run in the fourth as the Osaka club clinched its first shutout victory this season.


Hawks 8, Lions 0

At Kitakyushu Stadium, Tsuyoshi Wada set the pace by working six scoreless innings and catcher Kenji Jojima supported the rookie southpaw with homers off Seibu rookie hurler Shuichiro Osada (0-1) in back-to-back at-bats in Daiei’s shutout victory over the Lions.

Wada (1-1), who owns the Tokyo Big Six League record of 476 strikeouts, allowed five hits and fanned six in six innings for his first career win. Jojima is now 22-for-40 with a league-high .550 average in 11 games.

Buffaloes 7, Marines 3

At Chiba Marine Stadium, Yuji Yoshioka fired a grand slam in the opening inning and Tadatoki Maeda followed with a two-run double in the second as Kintetsu maintained an early lead to overpower Lotte.

Hiroshi Takamura (2-0) made use of his trademark fastballs and tossed three-hit ball to hold the Marines to a sole run over seven innings with six strikeouts and three walks for his second win. Lotte’s Kosuke Kato (0-2) was charged with five runs in 1 1/3 innings.

BlueWave 5, Fighters 3

At Sapporo Dome, Takeshi Yamasaki doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh and Ikuro Katsuragi hit an RBI double in the eighth for insurance to cap the scoring for Orix, which downed Nippon Ham.

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